Huge expectations from tonight's Olympic opening ceremony

The London 2012 opening ceremony will be a spine-tingling extravaganza that exceeds expectations, thrilled audience members said after witnessing the final rehearsal for today’s showpiece spectacular.

And despite their excitement, those lucky enough to get a sneak peek vowed to keep the surprises secret after the show’s Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle pleaded with them not to ruin it by giving the game away.

Fireworks explode at the Olympic Stadium during an opening ceremony rehearsal in London on Wednesday. PIC/Getty ImagesĀ 

Games volunteers and troops were given tickets to the final run-through as a thank-you for their efforts, while members of the 15,000-strong cast were able to reserve tickets for friends and family.

The 60,000-odd crowd seemed filled with enthusiasm as they flooded out of the Olympic Stadium late on Wednesday.

“That was absolutely amazing. I wanted to whoop,” said Hilary Midgley from Darwen in northwest England, whose daughter was in the show.

“She hadn’t told us anything so we didn’t know what to expect. She told us how she was dressed and I was just about able to pick her out.

“It was beyond my wildest expectations. My daughter’s been rehearsing since the beginning of May, we know how many hours she’s put in and it would just spoil everybody’s hard work.”

The theme of the £27 million ($42 million, 34.5 million euro) spectacular is “Isles of Wonder”, inspired by a passage from William Shakespeare’s play “The Tempest”. The show is set to be watched by a vast global television audience.

Boyle — who won an Academy Award for directing “Slumdog Millionaire” — and his team, have explained their guiding ideas for the spectacle.

Fellow film-maker Stephen Daldry, the Games ceremonies’ creative director, revealed the show champions “the rich heritage, diversity, energy, inventiveness, wit and creativity that truly defines the British Isles”.

Ollie Wright, 27, from Christchurch in New Zealand, who is volunteering at the modern pentathlon, was among those who saw it. “There’s lots of different things in there that triggered memories. It was spine-tingling at points,” he said.

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